Classy cool


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

Feel hip, cool and like a million bucks at the Honolulu Academy of Arts' annual gala fundraiser.





        Place: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St.

Benefit event: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday


Tickets: $85


Call: 532-6099 or visit



Sponsored by Prada, this year's Starlight Ball takes the theme “;When Cool Was King,”; channeling the Vegas lifestyle of the Rat Pack, when Frank Sinatra and his guy gang ruled Sin City in the early 1960s.

On the big night Saturday, attendees will walk a blue carpet, flanked by two vintage '60s glamour cars, to be greeted by yow-zah showgirls framed by giant spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds. Then they will enter a world of dramatic lighting, swaths of sumptuous fabrics, and the intro to Elvis' “;Viva Las Vegas”; projected in the academy's Pavilion Court (dubbed that night “;The Lush Lounge”;), all set to a finger-snapping jazz soundtrack.

Special tables are being sold for the ball, and while the $500 four-person “;Sammy Tables”; have all been filled, there are still seats available at the premium $3,500 10-person “;Frankie Tables,”; which will be curtained off by gossamer white fabric in the museum's Central Court and dubbed “;The Board Room.”;

Along with Prada representatives and guest celebrities, attendees will be entertained by an all-star jazz combo featuring DeShannon Higa, Dan Del Negro, Steve Jones and Darryl Pelligrini, and guest singers Cathy Foy, Alison Maldonado, Elika Santos, Yvonne Iverson and Don Nahaku.

Legends impersonators Gary Moore (as Sammy Davis Jr.) and Jonathan Von Brana (Elvis) will bring their old-school Vegas vibe to the Board Room as well.

Those at the Frankie Tables will be served a three-course dinner by chef George Mavrothalassitis that includes “;My Way”; Hebi Carpaccio, “;Come Fly with Me”; Crispy Roasted Duck and the restaurant's signature dessert, “;The Best Is Yet to Come”; Lilikoi Malasadas.

Holders of individual tickets and those at the Sammy Tables will serve themselves from the Banyan Ranch Buffet in the museum's Banyan Court, where entrees will be prepared by Twist at Hanohano, Sushi Yonmaruni, RumFire and E&O Trading Co.

Roaming throughout the ball will be the ladies of the Cherry Blossom Cabaret, who will perform a 15-minute show in The Lush Lounge, and transgendered contestants from the Universal Show Queen Pageant. The Nocturnal Sound Krew will man the turntables in the lounge area, which will also feature a 50-foot-long full bar and desserts from Hokulani Bake Shop.

The Starlight Ball is an annual fundraiser for the academy's art education programs such as Art to Go, which sends instructors to public elementary and high schools, and teams up with Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers to work after school with at-risk youth.

Silent-auction items include a three-day “;My Place Waikiki Escape”; at the Waikiki Parc Hotel, two nights in the reopened Royal Hawaiian Hotel's historic Ocean View Room with dinner in its new Azure restaurant, a Coach Ergo patent-leather tote, and a private tour of Doris Duke's Shangri La mansion for four.